Thursday, April 13, 2017

~Color Update~

Bright Yellow Forsythia Blossoms
What a beautiful time of year!  Whenever I glance out our kitchen window the bright yellow Forsythia blossoms get my attention!  Three bushes are in our back perennial garden.  It's so easy to admire these beautiful bushes all over my neighborhood, because many of us have them in our yards.  Last year, the Forsythia did not blossom, due to our warm, then freezing temps early in the year.  They sure were missed!  However, this year they are a welcoming Spring sight!

The "AmaZing surprises" that made their appearances in March have also brought color to our emerging garden!  A bright yellow Daffodil stands tall.  :)  

Sole Surviving Daffodil
Pink & yellow Hyacinth flowers are opening on the stalks!  It's a ritual that I enjoy seeing every year!  

Hyacinth Blossoms Opening
Before I know it, it will be time to plant the saved Zinnia & Marigold seeds!

What a great time of year!
Spring in New England!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

~Flatbread Pizza~

BBQ Pork Tenderloin Flatbreads
with Roasted Asparagus
Spring!  Asparagus! Flatbread Pizza!  Oh yes!  What a great combination!

A couple of months ago my DH & I were looking at the menu in a New Jersey hotel dining room- famished.  I wanted to order something I'd never tasted.  That's something I always enjoy doing.  When I return home I like to prepare a new dish that's so tasty.  There on the menu was "Flatbread Pizza".  The description of the ingredients sounded so appetizing & I was so hungry!  Oh, it was so good!     

Three weeks ago, a grocery store in my area started carrying packaged flatbread for pizza.  O.K., that got my attention!  Now, I've prepared Flatbread Pizza twice in the past 3 weeks.  Forget Friday night pizza!

These are great!  They are so easy to prepare!  The Directions are on the package.  With the Flatbreads I use, they are placed on a baking sheet & baked for 2 minutes.  Add toppings & then return to the oven & bake again for 4- 5 Minutes. 

It's Asparagus time, so roasting Asparagus that's coated with Olive Oil for baking & sauteing & also Parmesan cheese is a great veggie when making these.  We like White Pizza, so a coating of Ricotta Cheese is a great base.    

With the first Flatbreads, BBQed Pork Tenderloin chunks, Roasted Asparagus & fresh Spinach were placed on a coating of Ricotta Cheese.  Top with shredded Mozzarella/ Cheddar! 

We enjoyed the taste of  Veggie Dream Flatbreads the second time.  Roasted Asparagus & Roasted Summer Squash along with fresh Spinach were placed on the Ricotta.

Veggie Dream Flatbread

Useful Hints

  • Before adding toppings, I spread a little Olive Oil for baking & sauteing on each baked Flatbread.  Then, add & spread Ricotta Cheese on top. 
  • For both varieties make a drizzle of 1 teaspoon Water with 4 teaspoons of BBQ SauceCombine & then drizzle over the top of each Flatbread just before sprinkling on the shredded Cheddar/ Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake.  This gives it a great tang!
Does your family enjoy these, too?


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

~Early Spring~

The snow that fell 2 weeks ago has melted.  The rain has now stopped.  Today the sun is shining, so it was time to check out the perennial gardens. 

AmaZing surprises!!!

In our front yard the lavender Crocuses in our lawn are enjoying the sunshine!

A Ritual of Spring!

A walk to our backyard brought more smiles!  The sole Daffodil in our back perennial garden already had a bud before the snowfall.  Yes, it's growing!

The sole Daffodil!

 Even the Hyacinths continue upward!

Flower buds growing larger!

The recent snowfall did not stop determined Spring!  Woohoo!
It's anticipated & totally Enjoyed!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
It's March! Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day!  It's time to bake the Irish Soda Bread to enjoy this weekend!!!  This yummy bread is also called Spotted Dog.  Oh, it is so good!

Unsalted Butter, Raisins & Fat Free or Low Fat Buttermilk are 3 of the ingredients.  Enjoying a slice or two of this bread on St. Patrick's Day is a tradition in my family.  What a great bread!  If you have any extra slices, they can be frozen to enjoy another weekend.  There just may not be any extra slices.

Here's my history of me finding this recipe: 

I'll always remember the year I was "googling" for an Irish Soda Bread recipe that used 1 Cup of Buttermilk.  That's all I had in the fridge.  There was the recipe on the blog Charli and Me written by Carol.  Carol shared that this great recipe originally came from the Will O'Glenn Irish Bed and Breakfast in Michigan with Mrs. Biddy Gahan sharing it.  I'm always so happy that all of these kind folks passed it along!  I use unsalted & fat free/ low fat ingredients & it's so good!  Every year I bake this Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day & also a couple of other times during the year.

***My hints:
  • Melt & then cool the Butter before using.
  • Before placing the sticky dough in the pie plate, rub a little Butter on your hands.
  • Spray the pie plate with PAM. 

Ready to place in my oven!
Irish Soda Bread
Oven: 400°F, then lowered to 375°F.

Total baking time:  40- 45 Minutes

1 and 1/2 Cups Raisins
1 Cup Boiling Water
1 stick unsalted Butter 
2 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
5 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup Buttermilk, can be Fat Free or Low Fat 

  1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2.  Spray Pyrex pie plate with PAM.
  3.  In a small bowl combine Raisins & boiling water.  Let sit while preparing dough.
  4.  Melt butter.  Cool.
  5.  In large mixing bowl combine Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder & Sugar. 
  6.  Add melted Butter to dry ingredients.  Stir in.
  7.  Add Buttermilk. Stir.
  8.  Add drained Raisins.  Stir. 
  9.  Shape the dough into a ball after placing in the pie plate.  Dough is sticky.
  10.  Bake 15 Minutes at 400°F.
  11.  Then, lower oven temperature to 375°F.  Bake 25- 30 Minutes longer.
  12.  Remove bread from pie plate after using a cake tester or toothpick to test for "done".  
  13.  Cool on rack.
  14.  Wait at least 5 hours before cutting into slices.
  15.  Enjoy!
Heat half of a slice in the microwave for a few seconds.  What an extra special treat!  Warm or room temperature, this is just so good!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!    

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!!

Today's the day
To say
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!!

Two days ago I stopped into the Springfield Museums in Springfield, MA.  I was on my way to the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum for a presentation, so I walked past the statues of Dr. Seuss & his friends.  The Lorax greets visitors as they walk onto the museum complex.

The Lorax
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA.  He grew up in Springfield & later wrote so many books for children using the name Dr. Seuss.  Seuss was his mother's maiden name.  The sculptor Lark Grey Dimond- Cates, Theodor Seuss Geisel's step- daughter, designed these large detailed bronze statues.  The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2 & Horton the Elephant are just a few.

Horton & more Dr. Seuss Friends!
While writing his stories he used his native Springfield, MA for inspiration.  No, Ted Geisel did not live on Mulberry Street.  His dad was Superintendent of Parks in Springfield & Forest Park is located in the city.  Often the phrase "If I ran the zoo..." would be voiced by Springfield residents.  You will recognize the title of another great story of his- If I Ran the Zoo.  Indian Motorcycles were manufactured in the city, so they have a place in his stories, too.

Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite Dr. Seuss story!  What's your fave story???


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ah Yes, Color!

Welcome Sight!
Red Amaryllis
In the middle of January I was ready to work with the Amaryllis!  It was the potted bulb 2 of my cute grandsons gave us.  The color was a mystery.  Mysteries are good!  It was also a mystery if  I would see any beautiful anticipated flowers.  A YouTube video was very helpful. 

O.K., the lid was carefully removed from the pot.  The bulb was watered- not too much.  The pot was rotated:  90°- 180° every time.  The ever growing stem with a "bud" was staked- gently with yarn.  Suddenly the "bud" began to open & small red buds appeared.  I was on my way to see brilliant red color in the winter!  Woo hoo!

The buds opened.  The Amaryllis is watered.  The pot is rotated.  What a gorgeous sight in February!

Pollen & me have issues, so I also removed the pollen sacs.  I am planning on enjoying these bright red flowers for as long as  can!

After it flowers (with some TLC), I've learned that the bulb can be replanted at a later date.  Oh yes, brilliant red flowers again!  This is so similar to my Marigold plant!  Seeds are saved every year & planted the following spring!      

Enjoying the Amaryllis!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins

~Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins~
We have a few packages of Butternut Squash in our freezer!  Ah, just a very few.  It's the veggie that we purchase in autumn from Meadowbrook Farm.  After bringing the bushel home the next step is to steam/ mash/ package/ label/ freeze it to enjoy during the other months of the year.  Yesterday, while we were enjoying this yummy orange colored veggie during dinner I decided to save out 1/2 of a cup.  I had Butternut Squash Muffins on my mind.  The yummy muffins that most people think about & enjoy in autumn.  Why wait for autumn in 2017?  These light muffins with Raisins are also  flavored with Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Cloves.  They taste so good any time of year & during the winter they are a great treat.

Looking outside, the snow in our yard has certainly melted!  Streets & sidewalks are clear.  That makes taking the daily walk outdoors so easy!  After returning from the walk, the Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins were soon baking in the oven!  Yum!         

Butternut Squash Raisin Muffins
Oven:  400°F
Time:  20- 22 Minutes
Yield:  12 Muffins

1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
2 Egg Whites (or 1 Whole Egg)
3/4 cup Soy Milk (can be 1%, 2% or Whole Milk)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
1/2 cup Butternut Squash cooked & mashed 
1/4 cup Raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line muffin pan with liners.
  3. Combine the first 7 dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix.
  4. Separate Egg Whites & place in small bowl & beat with a fork. 
  5. Add Soy Milk & Olive Oil to small bowl. Combine.
  6. Add mashed Butternut Squash to liquid mixture, combine.
  7. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.
  8. Add Raisins.
  9. Mix all ingredients together until moistened.  Batter may be lumpy.
  10. Fill muffin liners.
  11. Bake 20- 22 Minutes in 400°F oven until muffins are lightly browned on top.
  12. Remove muffins from pan immediately.
  13. Cool on racks.
After these muffins cooled for about 10 minutes, suddenly 1 was gone from the rack!  You guessed it.  My Hubby walked into the kitchen.  :)

Will you be baking a batch of these muffins?


Monday, February 13, 2017

"The Marriage License"

"The Marriage License"
at the Norman Rockwell Museum
It's a nice little road trip from our home to the Norman Rockwell Museum that's located in Stockbridge, MA.  Traveling west on the Mass Pike (I90) brings us into the Berkshires (Berkshire County).  With each visit to this fave place it's great to learn a little more about a well known American artist & his beautiful works!

"The Marriage License" is another beautiful painting in the museum's collection!  This was the cover for The Saturday Evening Post on June 11, 1955.  An excited young couple is happily filling out the paperwork for their marriage license.  In contrast, the Town Clerk is patiently waiting, looking off into the distance preoccupied with his thoughts.  The room has dark wood & objects while the young woman's yellow dress & the light coming in from the window lets us look into this room more easily.

This work is a favorite with many married/ engaged couples.  Many have their photo taken in front of it during their anniversary month.  Like we did this past July on our anniversary!

An Anniversary Photo

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Creamy Cheesy Pie

Creamy Cheesy Pie
(File Photo)
ready to slice & serve
My mother- in- law introduced me to Creamy Cheesy Pie.  It was decades ago when Jim & I visited his parents in Florida.  Two weeks before arriving, I had prepared a cheesecake that took 2 hours to prepare.  After making the pie crust shell, the filling was prepared.  Then, the cheesecake was baked.  It tasted so delicious, but it was so time consuming.

On this particular visit to the sunny state I was introduced to a very easy dessert.  After dinner one night, we all enjoyed our dessert- Creamy Cheesy Pie.  It was served with a little whipped cream on top.  Oh, it was so good!  My MIL told me it was a "cinch" to make.  She was not kidding!!!  One 2- serving box of vanilla cook & serve pudding was prepared & it was combined with 8 ounces of Cream Cheese.  Then, the mixture was poured into a pre-made graham cracker crust.  Into the fridge it went to cool.  O.K. , now that is easy!!!  It's not only easy, it tastes so good!!! 

No, I never went back to preparing that other Cheesecake again.  ;) 

This is a dessert I make "every so often".  Cheesecake has always been a favorite dessert of mine.  Polish Cheesecake, Carrot Cheesecake & Key Lime Cheesecake are quite hard to resist in my book.  This one is too!!!

A Few Hints:
  •  My family uses 1% Milk, so I add 1 Tablespoon powdered milk into pot before making pudding.
  • I use Jell-O brand pudding mix, because I do not burn the pot when I use the Jell-O brand.  :)

  • My son has prepared a delicious Chocolate Creamy Cheesy Pie using chocolate pudding mix.    

Creamy Cheesy Pie

(1) pkg. 2 serving cook & serve Vanilla Pudding Mix
(1) pkg. 8 oz. Cream Cheese
(2) Cups Milk
(1) Pre-made Graham Cracker Pie Shell 

  1. Prepare Pudding according to package directions. 
  2. Place Cream Cheese in a medium bowl.
  3. Pour hot cooked Pudding over Cream Cheese and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into Graham Cracker crust.  Smooth mixture to crust edges.
  5. Cool about 30 minutes.  Then, cover with plastic wrap. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight.
  7. Cut into slices.  Add whipped cream on top.
  8. Place berries on the side.
  9. Refrigerate remaining pie to enjoy again.  Yum!
I will be making this dessert on Monday afternoon.  Topped with a little Strawberry Freezer Jam & then whipped cream. Oh yum!!!

Will you be making one, too?  Easy + delicious!!!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

~Quick Glance~

~Today's View~
at Noontime
It's February 9th!  It is winter and the light snowflakes keep falling today!  Schools are closed for the day in the northeast & the snowplow has visited my neighborhood already this AM.  It will return! Yesterday, our thermometer reading was 51°F.  Today is a totally different story.  There is no taking a walk outside for me.  Our handy dandy treadmill will be used!

But, what a beautiful view from any window in our home!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Super Bowl Sunday is approaching fast!  The day when viewing the commercials on t.v. is as much FuN as watching the game.  It's become a tradition here- enjoying a bowl of hot hearty Slow Cooker Chili on that day!  Slow Cookers/ Crock Pots are so handy here.  All the ingredients go into the pot & the small kitchen appliance does the cooking.  A meal in a pot!

If there are any portions remaining, Chili freezes very well.  Cool before placing in containers, label/ date & freeze.        

This year there's a little change up in my recipe.  Lean Ground Turkey replaces Ground Beef!

2 Helpful Hints
  • My Slow Cooker has a non-stick coating, so the Green Pepper chunks are added on the bottom of the pot first to prevent any too crispy Ground Turkey.  (Yes, once I had crispy meat on the bottom & this is how I prevent it from occurring again.)
  • I brown the Ground Turkey before placing in the Slow Cooker's pot to remove the fat. 

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

1 lb. lean Ground Turkey
1 small Green Pepper, cut into small chunks
(1) 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained
(2) cans Red Kidney Beans (about 19 oz. each)
Chopped Onions (I use 1 Tablespoon dehydrated Onions.)
Chopped Parsley (I use 1 Tablespoon dehydrated Parsley.) 
2- 3 teaspoons Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
(2) cans Tomato Sauce (15 oz. each)

  1. Spray nonstick cooking pot of Slow Cooker with PAM. 
  2.  Brown Ground Turkey in a frying pan.
  3.  Cut Green Pepper into chunks & place in cooking pot.
  4.  Add browned Ground Turkey.
  5.  Add drained Diced Tomatoes.
  6.  Drain Kidney Beans.  Rinse in cold water.  Drain again.
  7.  Place on top of Diced Tomatoes.
  8.  Sprinkle on desired amount of chopped Onions & chopped Parsley.
  9.  Then, sprinkle Chili Powder, Garlic Powder & Oregano on top.
  10.  Pour Tomato Sauce on top & spread evenly.
  11.  Place lid on top of Slow Cooker/ Crock Pot.
  12.  Set temperature to High for 2 and 1/2 hours.  Then, reduce to Medium for 1/2 hour. 
  13.  Stir before serving into bowls.
While you're adding the Turkey Chili ingredients to your grocery list for this weekend, add Fat Free Sour Cream & Rye Bread.  A dollop of Sour Cream on top of Chili is so good!  The Rye Bread is great for dunking!

Go Falcons!!!


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

~Banana Craisin Oatmeal~

Add 1 more ingredient-
1 sliced Banana
It's gotten a bit chillier in the morning!  Today it's s-n-o-w-i-n-g!  This kind of weather reminds me that a hot bowl of cereal filled with oats tastes so good for breakfast.  A bowl of Craisin Creamy Oatmeal!  Looking over at our fruit bowl "I spied" a Banana.  Before I knew it, the Banana was sliced & added into the pot with the other ingredients for our hot oatmeal cereal.  It was a change up in the flavor.  A great change with that added Potassium filled Banana!  WoW!!!

Treat yourself to this hearty fruit filled breakfast on a chilly day!  

Banana Craisin Oatmeal
     2 Servings 

1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats 
1 Banana- cut into slices
1/4 Cup Craisins (Dried Cranberries)
1 and 1/2 Cups Soy Milk (or Milk)
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon
Brown Sugar- as desired

  1. Place all ingredients in a 2 quart sauce pot. 
  2. Let stand 10 Minutes. 
  3. Heat to a boil over Medium heat.
  4. Stir & cook for 5 Minutes.
  5. Divide between 2 bowls.
  6. Add more (Soy) Milk!
  7. Enjoy a great bowl of hot cereal!
What a great way to start the day!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Baked "Turkey Meatballs"

Baked "Turkey Meatballs"
Some were placed in the Tomato Sauce
Others were frozen
For the past year we've been eating less beef.  Really!  As a matter of fact it's not found very often on our grocery list.  In the warmer months, occasionally, we enjoy a yummy grilled cheeseburger.  But that's a treat on a HHH summer day.  I've been using lean Ground Turkey in many dishes where I would have used Ground Beef in the past.

A few days ago we enjoyed Turkey Meatball Grinders with low fat mozzarella cheese & sauteed Green Pepper strips.  Yes, a salad too.  Oh yum!  What a great tasting dinner! 

A one pound package of lean Ground Turkey yields about 16- 17 Turkey Meatballs.  There were extras to freeze & have for dinner on future nights.

  • I use Egg Whites rather than Whole Eggs whenever I can while cooking. 
    (2 Egg Whites = 1 Whole Egg.)  
  • For me quite often, Soy Milk is a replacement for Milk.  
  • My Spice Rack contains the herbs.  :)            

Baked "Turkey Meatballs"

Oven Temperature:  375°F          Baking Time:  28- 30 Minutes 


1 Pound (16 ounces) lean Ground Turkey
3/4 Cups unseasoned Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup Milk  (I use Soy Milk.)
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Basil
1/4 teaspoon dried Chopped Onion
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix together- combining well.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. Cover a cookie pan with aluminum foil.
  5. Spray foil with PAM.
  6. Make 16- 17 Turkey Meatballs & place evenly on cookie pan.
  7. Bake for 28- 30 Minutes in a 375°F oven
  8. Remove from pan.
Each "Meatball" is moist, deliciously flavored & tastes so good in a toasted grinder roll that's filled with mozzarella cheese, sauteed peppers & tomato sauce.

The extra "Meatballs" freeze very well, too!  These are also so good served over spaghetti!

Do you prepare Baked "Turkey Meatballs"?


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Raisin Rice Crispies Bars

Raisin Rice Crispies Bars
A bite of Raisins combined with marshmallows & Rice Krispies cereal!  Oh Yum!  I could not escape the thought of this chewy dessert!  The dessert I always had in the fridge waiting when my sons were "back home" from college.  I could purchase this treat that is also commercially made, but it just does not taste as good.  The packaged goodies are quite dry.  Really!

A  few weeks ago we stayed overnight in Boston.  In the hotel my hubby purchased one of the packaged goodies.  While eating it he mentioned it was quite DRY.  Well, it was commercially made & there was not a raisin to be seen inside the wrapped snack.  At that moment I knew I needed to make a batch in the near future. 

It was yesterday afternoon!  No one is home on semester break from college, it was for US!   Oh, yes, they are that good!  There's something about adding 1 Cup of Raisins into the pot when you are stirring the melted Margarine/ Butter + Rice Krispies cereal.  The Raisins give this treat that extra pizazz in taste & also moisture. 

They are SO easy to make!  Add a bag of Marshmallows to your grocery list along with the Rice Krispies cereal.  Make a batch!  Just remember not to get carried away & enjoy eating too many all at once.  Save some for later in the week!  :)

***A few Hints when making this snack:
  • Remember the secret is to work quickly!  The melted marshmallows + butter/ margarine & cereal  will begin to stick together.  You need to get it into the baking dish.
  • After measuring ALL of the cereal, place a little Butter/ Margarine on the bottom of the measuring Cup & spread with a paper towel or waxed paper.  Then it's much easier to press down lightly on the mixture (in the baking dish) with the bottom of the Cup.  Nothing sticks together!  
  • I spray the 9" x 15" glass baking dish with PAM, so the bars will be removed easily after cutting.    

Raisin Rice Crispies Bars

4 Tablespoons Butter/ Margarine
1 (10 ounce) package Marshmallows
5 and 1/2 Cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 Cup Raisins

  1. In a large pot (6 quart pot) melt 4 Tablespoons Margarine/ Butter over Low heat.
  2. Add in 1 bag (10 ounces) Marshmallows, stirring until completely melted.
  3. Turn off heat.
  4. Add in 3 Cups Rice Krispies cereal, stir.
  5. Add in 1 Cup Raisins, stir.
  6. Then, add 2 and 1/2 Cups more Rice Krispies cereal, stir.
  7. Place the mixture (will be sticky) into a 9" x 15" glass baking dish (sprayed with PAM).  Press down lightly with the bottom of the measuring cup. 
  8. Cover with plastic wrap & place in fridge for 1 hour.
  9. Cut into bars, place in covered container & store in fridge until serving.
***These are crispy & crunchy & so good! 

Before enjoying one, place a Raisin Rice Crispies Bar on a plate & microwave 7- 9 seconds & you will have a softer bar.

This is one of our fave treats from long ago!  It's all about the Raisins!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!!

 I Wish You
A Happy & 
A Healthy New Year!!!